Housing, and Living in the UK
What you need to know, in brief.
- Local councils, housing associations and private landlords usually ask applicants to disclose unspent convictions. You can be refused housing on the basis of your criminal record.
- Banks and building societies can only take unspent convictions into consideration for mortgage applications. An unspent conviction will not necessarily lead to an application being refused.
- If, on release from prison, you will be considered homeless, the prison have a duty under the Homelessness Reduction Act to refer you to your local council for a housing assessment.
- If you need to apply for a visa to come to the UK you will usually be asked to provide a criminal record certificate for every country where you have been present for 12 months or more in the 10 years prior to your visa application.
- A visa application is likely to be refused if you’ve been convicted of an offence which resulted in a prison sentence of 4 years or more.
- Foreign national convicted of an offence in the UK may be deported if they receive a prison sentence of 12 months or more.
Information and Advice Articles
I need advice on finding housing - is there anything you can suggest?
There is a shortage of housing stock right across the country. This means that applicants for social housing need to meet stricter criteria which in turn, has pushed up the rents for private rentals.
Will my criminal record cause me a problem if I want to apply for a mortgage?
If you’re asked to disclose any unspent convictions then legally, you are required to do so. Every bank/building society will have their own lending criteria and some will refuse a mortgage if you have an unspent conviction.
I've just gone into prison - is there anything I need to know about housing?
Housing advisors in prison can provide help to ensure you either keep your existing home or plan somewhere for you to live when you are released.
I want to become a landlord. What issues do I need to be aware of?
You’ll need to ensure you have appropriate insurance in place. Remember to disclose any unspent convictions, even if the insurer doesn’t ask (it’s regarded as a ‘material fact’).
I'm looking to come to/stay in the UK - will my criminal record cause me any problems?
I'm a foreign national who has just been convicted of an offence in the UK. Am I likely to be deported?
If you’ve received a prison sentence for 12 months or more or have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a “serious crime” you may be subject to deportation.
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